Top t̶e̶n̶, one resolution for 2014


One more year passed and it’s time to make resolutions for the new year. I made around 8 new year resolutions last year but failed to keep most of them and was hardly able to keep the rest only partially. So, am I the only one who is so pathetic at keeping up the resolutions? Apparently not. If this post from Forbes is to be believed, only 8% of the people actually achieve their new year resolutions. Continue reading

An Open Letter to all (Engineering) Fresher Job Seekers


Dear Freshers,

I love working with people fresh out of college since they are full of enthusiasm, charged up to explore new things and not afraid of getting their hands dirty with technologies they haven’t even heard of. It’s hard for experienced professionals to beat the energy levels freshers come loaded with and that energy helps compensate for their lack of work experience. I would almost always prefer to hire a fresher instead of an experienced professional unless the job specifically demands someone with expertise and significant experience in given domain or technology. Continue reading

Negative Feedback (?)


I was talking to a friend recently who mentioned the term negative feedback (not the one related to Electric Engineering) while sharing details of his recent appraisal. That was not the first time I heard the term but it got me thinking how an innocuous feedback could be negative because by definition, feedback is supposed to be used as a basis of improvement. How something, which helps you improve as a person or as a professional, could possibly be negative?

But then it’s all about individual perception. How one interprets a feedback makes it positive or negative. To make the matter worse, it’s not necessary that all feedback are honest. However that’s a separate topic and my theory about nonexistence of negative feedback is based on assumption that all feedback are genuine.

Feedback is a friend. It has the potential to turn us into a better human being if we embrace it with open arms. So my dear friends, whenever you see someone cribbing about so called “negative” feedback, make them realize that what they are cursing is actually a blessing in disguise.

2013 Resolutions!


We survived 21.12.2012. I didn’t make any new year resolutions (till 22nd Dec), just in case the Mayan prediction (dooms day) proved right 🙂

But here are we, alive and kicking. I think it’s time I should make some resolutions for the new year. That’s a different story that by end of the year, most of us (including myself) don’t even remember what resolutions we made. Nonetheless I feel we should still do this exercise every year. After all, we all love and believe in terms like optimism and initiatives despite not following those very things every time.

So, here goes the list of my new year resolutions.

  • I will Learn at least 2 new programming languages and/or frameworks.
  • I will start Reading more (books, blogs, magazines). I already spend decent amount of time reading, especially online junk, however this year I want to focus more on reading offline stuff.
  • I will get a Standing desk like the one below and in case I couldn’t afford one, will seriously do something about long sitting hours.
Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy:

  • I will Exercise/Jog/Walk daily. And if that doesn’t work (had to add this clause based on last few years experience), I’ll at least play games on Wii daily 🙂
  • I will kick the Car habit and try alternative modes of transportation. My office is hardly 1 km from my home (jealous?) but I still take car to office daily despite trying hard (may be not hard enough) to resist the temptation.
  • I will measure my Productivity to ensure all my efforts are in right direction.
  • I will take one Long break every year (haven’t yet thought about how long) and during this time, won’t be checking emails. 
  • I will spend more Quality time with my son (my favorite).

Note: Not each of the resolution mentioned above is original, some are “inspired” just like Bollywood movies are inspired from movies down south and yes, Hollywood.

So what are your new year resolutions?

Commission Junction Merchant Fees


For one of our newly launched services we were exploring a global affiliate networks with international reach to increase sales and Commission Junction (popularly known as CJ) was an obvious option being one of the most popular affiliate marketing network. I sent a query to them asking how much they charge merchants for using their platform. Their response came as a shock :-/

Any guesses how much CJ charges merchants for enrolling into their affiliate program? Well, they charge a whopping $6500 USD plus 3% transaction fees. And that’s not all, if your accumulated transaction fees for a month are less than $500 USD then you need to pay minimum monthly amount, which is $500 USD. Below are complete fee details.

Fee Structure  One-Time Network Integration Fee of $3,000: Includes access to our network, an online management dashboard,  technical resources, and launch assistance.  One-Time Escrow Account Deposit of $3,000: This deposit is a pre-fund of your account in anticipation of paying publisher  commissions and Commission Junction transaction fees after your account is live in our network. ($500 required minimum  account balance.)  Monthly Transaction Fees: A transaction fee is deducted from your escrow account whenever a transaction occurs. The  transaction fee is equal to 3% of sale amount per transaction. If this amount is not greater than 30 cents, a minimum  transaction fee of 30 cents will be assessed in lieu of the standard 3% of sale transaction fee. If your accumulated  transaction fees for the month do not exceed a minimum monthly amount (US $500), you will pay the minimum amount  instead.  12 Month Term, Annual $500 Renewal Fee: Initial contract term is 12 months.

Well, now I know why e-commerce sites are fleeing from Commission Junction and other affiliate networks :). Earlier I used to be a CJ publisher and noticed a few Indian e-commerce using CJ but I didn’t find any now. I also checked some other sites and found that cheapest option available is probably Shareasale which charges $550 USD one time setup fee and 20% per transaction (20% of affiliate commission) and minimum 1 cent per transaction. CJ charges minimum 30 cents per transaction.

Wondering what we finally decided. Well, for now we decided to stay away from these networks and now planning to run our own in-site affiliate program using any COTS tool.

How to download apk file from Android Market (Google Play) to PC, Mac, Linux .. the easy way


I was interested in implementing a specific functionality in one of the Android projects we are working on. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a easy way to implement the same. Luckily the same functionality is available in an existing Android application so I thought of reverse engineering that application to figure out how they made it work.

Now the problem was how to get the apk file of the application since you can only install it via Google Play as it doesn’t allow downloading the apk file directly. I googled for “how to download apk from android market” and found a popular way of doing it (link). Unfortunately this violates Google Play’s terms of use and may result in suspension of your account so I decided not to go ahead with it.

A couple of days later, I was browsing contents of my Android phone using file explorer and found apk files of all almost all extensions I had installed on my phone. The next moment I knew how I could get my hands on apk file of any android market application. I had rooted my phone few days back and  took backup of all installed applications before that. Some of you may have guessed by now but surprisingly I didn’t find this solution online or may be I didn’t look hard enough.

Here are the steps for downloading apk for any android application from Google play.

  1. Install the application for which you need apk file on your Android phone. For example, if you need apk file for ‘Angry Birds’ then install it.
  2. Next, install this application – App Backup & Restore
  3. Open the application installed in step 2, select the app from step 1 and take a backup for the same.
  4. The backup will create a apk file of the application and store it in your SD card under App_Backup_Restore folder.

That was easy, wasn’t it? Enjoy!

Organic and Inorganic Motivation


Recently I attended a marriage and since I was from dulha side, I was a privileged baraati 🙂 A few people were dancing with the band and intermittently trying to convince others (including me) to join them. A few of them were dancing with full energy and were visibly excited but few others were just standing and slowly moving their hands and feet and some were just walking along with baraat. One could classify the baraatis into 3 categories.

  1. Those who were genuinely excited and enjoying every bit of the moment.
  2. Those who were dancing only because they had no other option as they were unable to resist. (I would fit in here)
  3. Those who were neutral (or indifferent) and were just hoping that the baraat reaches the destination at the earliest.

Clearly, I can say that baraati classified as type 1 were highly motivated to dance in the baraat. Baraati classified as type 2 were probably poorly motivated or not motivated and type 3 were definitely not at all motivated. So, what is the reason some people are highly motivated to carry out a specific task and some are apparently poorly or not at all motivated? A trivial observation in a typical baraat and possibly most of you can relate to one of these 3 types when in similar situation. Further, it’s a no-brainer to figure out the reason behind high motivation of type 1 baraatis. However this trivial observation kept me awake for a couple of hours even though I was pretty much tired after returning from the marriage function.

And this led to my discovery of 2 types of motivation – Organic Motivation and Inorganic Motivation. Later when I Googled the terms, I realized these terms pre-exist … WHAT THE HECK!!! Nevertheless, since I spent couple of hours thinking about this, it deserves at least a blog post 🙂

Let’s go back to where we started – Type 1 baraatis. They were looking very excited, visibly happy and enjoying more than the other 2 types. The reason for that lies in organic and inorganic motivation. Type 1 people were either motivated organically or inorganically or probably both. Now you must be muttering … enough of this organic/non-organic BS, what do they mean after all?? Here you go.

Organic Motivation: If you are motivated enough and don’t need any external force to carry out a task then you are organically motivated. For example, dulha’s brother, his best friend(s), some of his dear cousins probably do not need any external motivation to dance in the baraat as they are happy deep inside .. for their brother, friend, cousin or whatever the relationship might be. Another very good example of inorganic motivation are entrepreneurs. True entrepreneurs are organically motivated and typically don’t need any external motivation (peers, customers, VC/Angels etc) to do their job.

Inorganic Motivation: Fair enough, but how do you explain the motivation of those who too were looking equally excited and dancing in the baraat with full energy but didn’t have any close relationship to the dulha? Alright, so this is where inorganic motivation comes into picture. People can be motivated inorganically as well. Some of the type 1 baraatis were under the influence of alcohol. Do I need to say more? It can also be explained in terms of pay hikes, rewards, recognition and the stuff which company bestows on you to (inorganically) motivate you.

Now when you have mastered the concepts of organic and inorganic movitation, here is a question for you 🙂

Question: There could be some people in the baraat who are neither close of dulha nor under influence of alcohol but could still be classified as type 1. Why? May be because they just love dancing and there could be some who do not want to miss any opportunity to show off (impress girls). Now what do you think – Are these people organically motivated or inorganically motivated?? Keep thinking and if you find an answer, leave your response as comment.

One friendly advise – If you need inorganic motivation to do your job then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Find a job which organically motivates you. Unfortunately this is easier said than done!